Rich Laverty takes a look at some of the weekend’s action across the country, which includes Manchester United being held to another draw at home and why it’s time for Arsene Wenger to leave Arsenal.
Leicester performances justify Ranieri sacking
I appeared to be one of the few people who could 100% understand Leicester’s decision to sack Claudio Ranieri. Of course it seemed harsh given what he achieved last season, but football moves on fast and there’s far too much money in the game to let sentiment get in the way anymore.
The reality is Leicester were dropping like a stone and their main rivals had all made changes that were working for the better. Swansea were in a similar plight until Paul Clement replaced Bob Bradley, while Big Sam is slowly steadying the ship at Crystal Palace. Marco Silva has been a revelation at Hull and all three looked well set to overtake Ranieri’s side if something didn’t change.
One week on and Leicester have taken six points from their two games post-Ranieri, scoring six goals in the process. To put that into context, Leicester had only managed seven goals in their previous ELEVEN Premier League matches, sometimes players just need a change and there’s now every chance the champions will still be in the top division next season.
Manchester United fans shouldn’t panic
There’s much worry among Manchester United fans right now as Jose Mourinho’s side slumped to yet another 1-1 draw at home to a side in the bottom half of the Premier League. As a United fan myself, I sent a half serious, half sarcastic tweet early in the game suggesting it would be another one of those games. It was.
United once again dominated the first half, cutting sorry Bournemouth to pieces but came up against another goalkeeper who appeared to gain secret powers when rocking up at Old Trafford. But despite being stuck in 6th, United’s play is lightyears ahead of what they were dishing out this time last year. The attacking football is superb at times and they’re still reasonably solid at the back. It was always going to be a tough start under a new manager but the team are unbeaten in 17 league matches. There’s no reason it shouldn’t all click into gear at the start of next year.
It never felt like that under David Moyes or Louis van Gaal. United already have one trophy under their belt and still have a very realistic chance at making the Champions League through Europa League success. Maybe it’s just me, but the future seems as bright as it has since Sir Alex retired…
Gabbiadini is brilliant but remember Michu?
I spent my Friday afternoon watching Manolo Gabbiadini’s sister play football for Italy in Cyprus and the similarity was incredible – not just looks either. Melania struggled to impose herself on a match where Italy were dominated but you could see their style of play was similar – although I’m sure even she is stunned by her brother’s impressive start to life in England.
Manolo is making life in England look easy. He doesn’t need to rely on pace because his movement and finishing is so deadly, as Manchester United found out on two (or three) occasions last week at Wembley. But, he comes with a caution. We all remember Michu rocking up in similar style at Swansea a few years ago, another player who had little pace but second to none mobility and end product. He similarly made life look easy but has since disappeared off the face of the earth. Now I’m not saying Gabbiadini will do the same, he was much more established than Michu before he came to England. But let’s wait and watch for another 12 months or so before we start handing him with all sorts of ‘best signing of…’ awards.
It’s time to go, Arsene
I’ve stayed fairly quiet on the whole Arsene Wenger debate because Arsenal aren’t my club, but I’m really not sure how anyone can believe Wenger should still be in charge at the Emirates this time in July.
Every game is now predictable, they’ll hammer the odd team and all will be right with the world. But time and time again they’ll come unstuck at home to a lower side as Arsene Wenger gets bamboozled for the 1826th time by a side who sit 10 men behind the ball. Then came Bayern Munich and Liverpool, two games you could have laid down your mortgage on Arsenal losing.
It was just so predictable and so sad at the same time. A previously great manager who simply has no idea how to change his ways while the whole world and his wife have sussed them out. He looked a broken man in Munich and he looked a broken man at Anfield too. If he really does love Arsenal, he’ll realise it’s time to walk before he’s pushed.
Newcastle laid down a real marker in West Yorkshire
Rafa Benitez’s side have had a very odd season in the Championship. I think everyone who looked at their squad in the summer expected that they would be challenging at the top, but it hasn’t all been as easy as it seemed on Saturday night.
As brilliant as they were at Elland Road when they swept an impressive Leeds team to one side and that remarkable comeback at home to Norwich, Newcastle have also had moments where you wondered if the hype was just that. Last weekend they found themselves 2-0 down to a Bristol City side who are currently one of the worst sides in the country form-wise. The Magpies have struggled to breakdown rivals at home. So coming into this week you could almost picture Benitez’s side taking nothing away from tough trips to Brighton and Huddersfield.
Ok, they got a bit lucky on the south coast as Brighton did everything right and were broken by one of the most brilliantly fluky goals of recent times, but against Huddersfield on Saturday their quality shone through. David Wagner’s side were breathtaking in recent home wins against local rivals Leeds and promotion rivals Brighton, but Newcastle showed why they’re favourites to go straight back up with a commanding performance in West Yorkshire.
You can follow Rich on Twitter at @RichJLaverty